Celebrating Our Lady

Anne Marie Amacher
Brandi Gabriel portrays Our Lady of Guadalupe and Arturo Guerrero  portrays Juan Diego during a reenactment Dec. 11 at St. Anthony Parish in Davenport.

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — The sounds of a drum beating, the shaking of maracas and sonajeras de los matachines (shells around the lower legs and ankles), and people dressed in colorful traditional attire filled churches and streets at parishes celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe in the diocese.

Crimson, yellow and white roses surrounded a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Anthony Parish in Davenport on Dec. 11. Following the 4:30 p.m. Mass, youths from the parish re-enacted the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe as two young girls read the story in English. They told the story of St. Juan Diego, who saw apparitions of Our Lady near Tepeyac, Mexico. She told him to visit the bishop of Mexico and build a chapel where she appeared. The bishop asked for a sign.

Father Guillermo Trevino
At left, Danza Guadalupana from West Liberty performs a dance in the Columbus Junction school gym Dec. 12 as part of the Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration.

Juan Diego avoided Our Lady, as his uncle was seriously ill. Our Lady found Juan Diego and assured him that his uncle would be okay. She told him to gather Castilian roses, which were not native to the area and to bundle them in his tilma (cape). On Dec. 12, Juan Diego went to the bishop, opened the tilma and the roses fell to the ground. The bishop knelt down. Then, according to tradition, an image of Mary, as she appeared at Tepeyac, appeared on the tilma.


After the reenactment, women and men dressed in Mexican prints, designs and feather headpieces performed traditional dances. Then Rosario Caste led recitation of the rosary, with the church dimly lit. The dance troupe returned, along with the younger dance troupe, to perform.

On Dec. 12, the morning began at 6 a.m. with recitation of the rosary and las mañanitas (traditional song in Spanish). Before the noon Spanish Mass, people prayed the rosary and the youth and adult dancers performed afterward. A reception followed.

Other parishes in the diocese organized Guadalupe celebrations that ranged from outdoor processions, dances, novenas, rosaries, las Mañanitas and receptions. Participating parishes were from Columbus Junction, West Liberty, Iowa City, Muscatine, Ottumwa and Washington.

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